Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    June 1, 2011 4:00am-4:30am PDT

4:00 am
the reports on the list that travelers are worn to that they will almost certainly be searched. we need to keep that in mind as we go forward. we believe that the san francisco airport director and his staff have been working diligently to help resolve some of these issues independent of the human rights commission. there are also several recommendations that have to do with the police department. one is the board of supervisors. there's a need to establish legal safeguards and enforce the rights enumerated by the california constitution. two is the board of supervisors and the police commission develop greater mechanism that ensure transparency and oversight. many more of these recommendations, another four or five, deal directly with the issue of police oversight and accountability, and civilian oversight at the san francisco police department.
4:01 am
those were the purpose and subject matter of the meetings we have had recently. it also addressed the office of citizen complaints and asked that they conduct more detailed yearly audits, non-criminal investigations. we met with joysticks, with the director of the office of citizen complaints, and we will be meeting with her in the future to develop processes that will hopefully strengthen this process. hrc and the police commission ensure that all officers following comply with local and state laws, including the general order. i will be addressing this in more detail. the board requires sfpd of the provide transparency regarding sfpd's involvement in collaboration with private agencies involved in
4:02 am
surveillance and possible actions with political and religious organizations. hrc and the police commission will hold a hearing to require disclosure of information concerning their own or joint national security or anti- terrorism programs. we will have a real dialogue about this issue. we have had numerous meetings in collaboration with asian law caucus and the aclu on recommendations regarding civilian oversight of the law localjttf. the joint venture will combat possible acts of terrorism. it is memorialized in the memorandum of understanding between the parties. the issue of these joint terrorism task forces and their implication on civil-rights is a topic of discussion in many u.s. cities going on right now in portland and in oakland. you may have read the recent
4:03 am
"chronicle "sports article -- " chronicle" article as well. a serious terrorism threat was uncovered after a city council resolution a few weeks ago. portland is the only incident of a local jurisdiction opting out of the jttf that we know of in the united states. issues we are facing now, as described in the recommendation, is not whether we should opt out, but whether we need -- what we can do to ensure that officers involved in activities have strong civilian oversight of their activities and report activities through the established civilian oversight mechanisms and procedures defined in 8.10. recent meetings have been
4:04 am
predominantly to discuss how this can be accomplished without are diminishing our ability to assist in joint activities of that -- of various federal agencies. our approach to achieve this objective is to publish internal directives ensuring our officers only participate in activities that the -- that meet our local standards of reasonable suspicion, not a criminal nexis, which is the standard of the city of portland and organ. our discussion -- and oregon. so far, they have been fully supportive of our goal. several issues still have not been addressed by the draft. we met with chief suhr today and he was willing to discuss with us of those issues and willing to include them in to the bureau order.
4:05 am
prior to now, sfpd officers assigned to thejttf have -- the jttf have identified themselves. we have a problem identifying those officers in order to pursue potential misconduct. from now on, as emphasized, sfpd will identify themselves as sfpd officers, possibly assigned to federal agencies or the jttf. it will give us control, the city control, over misconduct charges and allegations of misconduct charges. participation with the jttf, the issue of participation with the jttf, is still factually unresolved. we have been having meetings almost every day and will
4:06 am
continue having them daily, weekly, whatever it takes to make the changes we believe are necessary to protect the civil rights of the people of san francisco. san francisco is a unique community with unique issues, strong minority community involvement, and participation. we have a highly visible global presence. we have fundamental values guaranteeing human rights for all residents. the police commission is dedicated to the protection of those rights, including the fundamental rights guaranteed by our constitution of the common defense, civil protection, and protection of civil rights for all. thank you again, commissioners. i want to make sure you are aware of our policy analyst. we will certainly be available for any questions. president mazzucco: thank you very much. we have chief suhr as our next speaker. is there anything you would like
4:07 am
to add? president mazzucco: our next speakers will be john crew from the aclu and veena dubal from the asian law caucus. i would like to thank them. there were times during our meetings we did not agree on much. we started to agree on many things. the collaboration is what brought us here tonight with the policies that have been enunciated by the chief. thank you for your hard work. you did it. thank you. >> my powerpoint to come up. ok. thank you all, thank you to the police commissioners and to the human rights commission for all
4:08 am
the work that you've put into the events leading up to tonight's meeting. thank you also to commission president mazzucco and the sfpd for trying to move quickly to address the concerns. just one day after the board of supervisors unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the h.r.c. report and recommendations. i haven't had the opportunity to sit down with you yet but i very much appreciate the swift way with which you've tried to address these issues and the strong stance that you've taken in favor of this. so,ed good news is, after our meetings at the sfpd we know that we all collectively agree that sfpd policies should apply to sfpd officers assigned to the joint terrorism stass force -- task force. the bad news is that the
4:09 am
recently released m.o.u. which was secret for four years doesn't reflect our collective desires. further, based on our separate meet wgs the f.b.i., we know now that the f.b.i. will not agree to amend the m.o.u. which is why the chief issued the bureau order. however, a significant problem is that the f.b.i. special agent in charge has told us all in separate meetings that the f.b.i. will continue to block key parts of local policy central to accountability and oversight. this is what this is about. but more than that there's a solution and it doesn't necessitate a divorce from the joint terrorism task force. there are now two ways for local law phone ersment to participate in the jttf. this is -- this has been a chance even since the last time we spoke before the commission. one of the ways is the ways we're currently engaged.
4:10 am
an m.o.u. in which sfpd resources are put into the hands of f.b.i. with relatively no local control. the other way is via a resolution which was just approved by federal government in portland. which allows participation in the joint terrorism task force but provides much better protection for civil rights and gives the sfpd and the police commission more control of the relationship. this doesn't require opting out of the gttf or ending the relationship at all. i wanted to talk more about why we're so concerned. the f.b.i. has called their partnership with local agencies a perfect marriage. that may be the case from their perspective, but one of the partners in this marriage has changed a lot. as a result the terms of this partnership need to be redefined and understood. and here's why. a decade after 9/11 the f.b.i. calls it self a transformed
4:11 am
agency. they have highly expanded intelligence powers under the federal guidelines, i'll go into this more later, but f.b.i. agents are allowed to conduct intelligence on individuals and organizations without a factual connection to criminal activity. it's important to for to you know that this hasn't happened behind closed doors. in fact, the f.b.i. recently acknowledged they have over 70,000 investigations open just in the past four years that are not predicated on any suspicion of criminal activity. these are investigations on innocent americans. given these massive shifts in f.b.i. activity, the question is, what should the relationship between the sfpd and the f.b.i. look like? i want to empathize again that neither the asian law caucus nor the aclu are suggesting a divorce between these agencies. we all collectively believe that sfpd can be effectively involved in the joint terrorism task force activity under sfpd rules and regularlations. but to protect the sfpd from
4:12 am
highly criticized f.b.i. practices that amount to indiscriminant intelligence gathering and racial and religious profiling, sfpd officers must be bound by this which the f.b.i. special agent in charge sig blocked significant portions of. unlike the f.b.i., the sfpd is not a national security organization. this is thankfully still a local public safety, crime-fighting agency operating appropriate standards designed to serve that mission. there has been no public discussion by any governing body of transforming the sfpd into a national security organization. dd when the sfpd signed up to work with the joint terrorism task force under an m.o.u. that preserves local control and policies, it wasn't assuming that some of its officers, paid for by san francisco taxpayers, could be transformed into national security agents.
4:13 am
the sfpd signed on without telling anyone, not even the police commission. let me emphasize that this secret m.o.u. does not just allow sfpd officers to use highly problematic f.b.i. standards in the place of san francisco law and policy, but it also allows them to violate california constitutional law. in 1972, by a 2-1 margin, california voters, led by state senator just a few years before he became our mayor, passed a ballot measure that prohibits intelligence gathering that is disconnected from ar tick lable, criminal predicates. let me turn to -- oh. let me turn to this chart that will hopefully help you see the stark differences between the f.b.i. guidelines and our guidelines. pay particular attention to the assessment category to the left. this is new and widely, widely criticized.
4:14 am
this innovation in the guidelines arguably take the f.b.i. back to the infamous days of j. edgar hoover and his counterintelligence program. under this category, f.b.i. agents are allowed to question anyone, recruit infor manlts, use informants, surveil people and organizations all without any criminal predicate. they do not have to have suspicion that their targets are engaged in any criminal activity. you may wonder, ok, the f.b.i. has these broad powers but surely they understand that the community trust is an important key to effective law enforcement. well, as someone who regularly represents innocent americans who are approached by the f.b.i., i can tell you with great confidence that they do not. the f.b.i. has sewn the seeds of anger and distrust, in the muslim community in particular. let me give you a few examples. right here in the bay area the f.b.i. opened an assessment investigation on an arab american student. this is mr. afifi right here. he found a tracking device on
4:15 am
his car. a few days later half a does f.b.i. agents -- dozen f.b.i. agents swarmed his apartment building demanding it back. one agent told him, we have all the information we need, you don't need to call your lawyer. don't worry, you're boring. he is now suing the f.b.i. i should note that this investigation was a joint terrorism task force investigation. the same jttf that sfpd officers are currently assigned to. in southern california an f.b.i. informant, also part of the jttf , the man at the far left, came forward and shared his work with the f.b.i. entails. he said that he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to pose as a muslim convert and collect the names, email addresses and personal information of as many devout muslims as possible. particularly those who are particularly devout. also a joint terrorism task force investigation. and these are just two of dozens of stories that we're aware of.
4:16 am
in addition to overtly targeting members of the muslim community for investigation, the f.b.i. also engages in what they call domain management, otherwise known as ethnic mapping. for each city the f.b.i. is required to map ethnic communities and ethnically owned businesses. even some f.b.i. officials as reported by "the new york times" have found this practice troubling. but it's part of their guidelines, it's part what have the f.b.i. does and it's what we know they're doing in san francisco. the message that this kind ofagetivity sends is that the f.b.i. considers certain communities more suspect and less american than others. the practice is alienate communities and strain law enforcement relationships. the san francisco police department cannot afford to participate in these practices. we need community trust to keep all of our communities safe. thank you. >> i'm john crew for the american civil liberties union and rather than take too much time, i want to just echo the thanks that veena already offered.
4:17 am
briefly ac knowledge -- acknowledge chief suhr. we really appreciate you trying to dive into this issue so quickly and also comblations -- congratulations to your new command staff. i'm particularly pleased to echo also the comments made by director sparks, by both the commissioners up here. good news again is that we're all on the same page. we share the same goal. no one wants sfpd officers to be under the complete control of the f.b.i. what we need to do is to collectively find a solution that will actually achieve that goal, we're not there yet, we really appreciate this opportunity and your time. i'll try to be quick. to outline for you the elements of the solution. but first i need to briefly update you on how we got here. i don't want to focus on the path, i want to focus on the future, about we need to briefly understand what your predecessors have done that got us higher. and build on their success. we gave you in your packet a couple of pages of abbreviated history on this issue. i won't go through all of that. the highlights are though i need
4:18 am
to correct chief suhr briefly. this issue first came up in terms of action in san francisco in 19 the when the human rights -- 1989 when the human rights commission held a hearing similar to the ones you held in september and came up with the recommendations that called on the sfpd to overhaul their intelligence policies. this was based on not one incident but in fact a number of incidents that had taken place over a number of years and decades, some that have is referred to your packet. we gave you complips about. that the good news is that the police commission, your predecessors, responded to that recommendation by appointing a special committee that sat down with then chief which will withs i over six months and crafted a new intelligence policy. the police commission appointed myself to that committee, staff members of the human rights commission, other members of the public, and what we did is we looked through at best practices from over cities. we took policy provisions that were already in place and working to protect civil liberties and civil rights. the result was a consensus recommendation that the police commission adopted unanimously.
4:19 am
that we were very optimistic about. but of course the work isn't done when you just pass a policy. three years after that event, a major scandal broke out in 1993. which is known as the gerard scandal. and there are lots of elements of that, i won't go into all of the details. but part that have scandal had to do with the failure admitted by the chief of the department to actually implement the prior reforms. so after that, in 1994, the police commission strengthened 8.10 by strengthening the key civilian auditing procedures, to make sure that there is accountability and that they could uncover when there are problems. so, that's how we got here and i would say after 1994 we really haven't had controversy around these issues in san francisco. after swarming controversy. i see chief suhr nodding his head. so i think that's a sign that these policies worked. the good news is that these previously, your predecessor were careful to make sure they were applied to the gttf context. in late 1996 the f.b.i. created
4:20 am
the first jfff -- jttf in san francisco, i think there were only 12 nationwide then, and they came to san francisco and said, we want you, we need you to be part of this task force. the predecessor. but we don't want you under your policies, we want you to get a waiver from the police commission so there's no civilian oversight, you're not operating under san francisco values and standardses, you're operating under us. and in early 1997, the mayor brown said, nope, we have san francisco policies we're going to apply them. the public was outraged and within a matter of days, the san francisco police commission rejected that proposal and said, we're happy to cooperate, but we're not going to forfeit our values and forfeit our rules. fast forward to 2002, after 9/11, the sfpd did join the gttf but under an m.o.u. that very carefully preserved san francisco policies, with a number of specific provisions that said san francisco policies apply completely. the predecessors on the police
4:21 am
commission followed oun that. in 1994, i believe it was, the police commission asked the police department, are the gttf officers still following 8.10? promises up and down absolutely. still in effect. 2005, civil rights groups go to the special agent in charge himself at the f.b.i., ask the same question, he promised up and down, absolutely local policy only. so this arrangement was working. there is precedent for applying these policies locally. but in 2007 the f.b.i. came to the sfpd with a new standard m.o.u. and perhaps inadvertently, there was no review by the city attorney, no notice to the police commission, the sfpd signed that m.o.u. and it's a drastically different m.o.u., unfortunately. now, we didn't know about that m.o.u. because it was kept secret at the instistence of the f.b.i. for four years. and we appreciate when we met with them recently the f.b.i.
4:22 am
took responsibility for that secrecy. week of been operating in this town for 20 years with an atmosphere of open discussion and open grappling with what sometimes are difficult issues that sometimes people disagree about. but when we met with the police department in 2010 we were told suddenly the police department couldn't even talk about these issues without the permission of the f.b.i. that set off a warning sign. there's a truism in police practices that openness, particularly on issues related to controversial tactics, openness breeds trust. openness breeds confidence. it is necessary for collaborative problem solving. unnecessary secrecy breeds suspicion and breeds distrust and it's a major barrier and suddenly we're faced with secrecy around this issue. so eventually six weeks ago we finally got the m.o.u. released and unfortunately our suspicions and concerns were confirmed. this m.o.u. places firmly --
4:23 am
places the sfpd by its very terms in the control of the f.b.i. and major provisions that were previously in m.o.u., if you could call up the slide that shows that, not working, there we go, these provisions were in the m.o.u. that was in effect from 2002 until 2007. very specific provisions that were carefully put there and insisted upon to protect san francisco policy and san francisco oversight and control. every single one of these plo visions is missing, was taken out. in and the m.o.u. that was adopted in 2007 and is in effect to this day. and what it's replaced by is language that puts the complete control in the hands of the f.b.i. now, a number of are you lawyers, but clearly first year contract, you look at the two documents defining the same relationship, if there are provisions in the prior one that are suddenly taken out, you assume that has meaning. you assume in fact that they no
4:24 am
longer apply. and indeed as much as we would all like to say, and i appreciate the desire here to say that in fact san francisco policies are still applying, that's not what the f.b.i. is saying. istically with respect to key provisions related to civilian oversight and your ability to oversee and control what's going on. let me speed this up a little bit. so what puts at risk here, operating under this m.o.u., first and foremost, is the very concept of civilian control. the general orders of the police department are in fact the policies of the police commission, under the charter you set policies. signing a document with an outside agency undermining the concept of the police commission's authority and if a secret deal can be reached, maybe unintentionally, to undermine the policy on
4:25 am
protecting the first amendment, what about the use of force policy? what about the deadly force policy? clearly even if you disagree on the merits of this, the police commission needs to reassert its authority. veena already talked about the local standards, they are significantly different. the command authorizations however are key. this is the specific matter that the special agent in charge told us directly that they will not allow or not allowing now the requirement 8.10 that officers involved in these activities get command level authorization. that's very important not only so officers stop and think and apply the policy and it allows supervisers to monitor and make sure it's being applied appropriately, but those authorizations in fact create the paper trail in the sfpd that provides for the oversight in 8.10. so those authorizations are the documents that the designated police commissioner is supposed to review on a monthly basis, that is provided to the public.
4:26 am
the f.b.i. is saying, even though they provide that information to their civilian oversight, they provide that willingly to congress, they say they will block, as long as are you operating under the m.o.u., they will block that key provision from being applied. in the interest of time i'm going to skip those particular other aspects that are key and actually let's skip the bureau of general order. the one comment i will make of the bureau of general order, i'm thankful to hear it's a work in progress, there may be opportunities on it so i will not go niece those details right now but we don't think that in fact the bureau of general order is sufficient to address this issue. just one comment, as a bureau order, it can be changed at any time without the notice of the police commission, without a public hearing. and i think that this is an issue that has to be dealt with at the police commission level, given 8.10 is a police commission policy. but the good news is there's a solution. there are two federally approved
4:27 am
ways to participate in the gttf. under an m.o.u. and under a resolution. the correct chief suhr, the portland city council chose not to center into an m.o.u., specifically because it restricts the ability to provide local control and local oversight. we are not saying opt out, we are not saying leave the gttf relationship, we're saying there needs to be a transition. you're currently under an m.o.u., there's a model the federal government has endorsed, transition to it by passing a resolution and it's easy to do. let me go through the elements here that the portland resolution addresses. d it maintains local control over the assignment of officers and provides all these elements of civilian oversight, every single one with of these things has an analogous provision in 8.10. the federal government says you can do it as long as you're not
4:28 am
doing it under an m.o.u. and these involved security -- voven involve security clearances, allows for annual public reports, it allows for training and it makes sure that nothing can change. no more secret m.o.u.'s being signed but changes only take place after public notice, public hearings and discussion like this. so the question is, if the federal government and the u.s. attorney for oregon says that's a huge win for combating terror and that those are effective and sensitive civil rights protections, if that level of protection is available now to the people in oregon, why would san francisco not take the same deal? why are we operating under an m.o.u. that leaves our officers under the control of the f.b.i. and continues this argument when the easy thing to do is to simply start this transition now? we understand this is not a meeting where you have an action item tonight, but this is very simple to do. all you have to do is give 60 days' notice to the f.b.i. that
4:29 am
are you going to start this transition to a resolution. that notice period allows the f.b.i. to have any comment or express any concerns they want, i think it's very regrettable that they choust chose not to participate tonight and unfortunately i think it says something in terms of how seriously they take these concerns. i think this is a seamless transition because what everyone has said is that the officers in the jttf right now are not vitevie lating local policy. so if we went to a resolution that merely asserted local policy, then they could keep doing exactly what they're doing now. literally no transition. on the other hand, if it turns out perhaps -- [inaudible] to any of us that there's activities that sfpd is involved in that they shouldn't be involved in, the only -- don't we want those stopped? wouldn't this accomplish this? so this is a win-win, it is a preapproved way to solve this problem, we're very pleased, w